Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nina Bonita by Ana Maria Machado

              By: Ana Maria Machado
Illustrated: Rosana Faria

This beautiful  book was given to Ms. Bree as a Christmas present (Thanks Grandma!!).  

Nina Bonita is available in English & Spanish for those who have bilingual children.  Ms. Bree was given the hardcover English version.

The very fist thing my daughter noticed was Nina Bonita's dark and curly hair- "look just like mine mami".  As we continued to read the book she then noticed the picture where Nina Bonita's mother was braiding her hair and using colorful ribbons.  Yes, just like we do...   

This is a story about a little white rabbit who fells in love with Nina Bonita's dark skin and how he wanted to be as dark and pretty as she was.  After three failed attempts, he finally discovered why Nina Bonita's skin is so dark and pretty, it's all about genetics.

I love the illustrations, they are very simple and colorful.   This is a perfect book for the little ones who are just beginning to read by themselves, it teaches them acceptance with a sense of humor and it also teaches them that all shades of color are beautiful.

If you would like to obtain this book for your little one, click:  Nina Bonita: A Story (Children's Books from Around the World)


Ana Maria Machado was born in 1941 in Rio de Janeiro and is, alongside Lygia Bojunga Nunes and Ruth Rocha, one of the most significant children's book authors in Brazil. She started her career as a painter in Rio de Janeiro and New York City. After studyingRomance languages she did a PhD with Roland Barthes at the 'École pratique des hautes études' in Paris. She worked as journalist for the magazine 'Elle' in Paris and the BBC inLondon. In 1979, she opened the first children’s literature bookshop in Brazil, 'Malasartes'.
In 1969, Ana Maria Machado started to write. "I belong to that generation of writers who began to write during the military dictatorship, as children’s literature, alongside poetry and song texts, were amongst the few literary forms with which, through the poetic and symbolic use of language, you could make the ideas of a joie de vivre, individual freedom and respect for human rights known." Her story 'Menina Bonita do laço de fita' (1986) about a white and a black rabbit who marry and have a whole hoard of black, white and black and white patterned children, is a charming book about the living together of diverse ethnic groups. In 'Era uma vez um tirano' (1982) three children defy a tyrant who has forbidden colour, thoughts and any happiness. Without pointing fingers, Ana Maria Machado always dresses up her messages in humorous stories and trusts the ability of her young readers to also read between the lines.
Similar to many Brazilian children’s book authors of her generation, Ana Maria Machado stands in the tradition of the first great children’s book author, Jose Bento Monteiro Lobato (1882–1948). Her writing is marked, in the style of "magical realism", by a subtle mix of social satire and fantastic elements as well as a conscious and playful use of language and narrative structures. In 'História meio ao contrario' (1978), Ana Maria Machado turns the classic narrative structure of the fairy tale on its head and lets her story begin with: "And if they didn’t die, then they are still alive today" and end with "once upon a time".
In 'Bisa Bia, Bisa Bel' (1982), one of her central works, Isabell’s internal dialogue with her dead great-grandmother, Bisa Bia, and her own great-grandchild from the future, Bisa Bel, becomes a magical journey to the invisible connections between the generations, which finally allow Isabell to find her own way. For the author, fantasy also means to expand the sense for space and time and to allow reality and fantasy to mix with each other.
Just as brilliantly in ‘Palavra de Honra’ (2005, Engl: Word of Honour) Machado tells the story of a Luso-Brazilian family which has become very wealthy since their arrival in the 19th century. The reader encounters Letícia, who tries to reconstruct her own story out of the dispersed remains of the family legacy.
Ana Maria Machado has written more than hundred books for children and adults in 17 countries for which she has received the most significant Brazilian awards and many international honours. In 2000, she was awarded the 'Hans Christian Andersen Award' for her life work, the most significant international prize for youth and children’s literature. Ana Maria Machado lives with her family in Rio de Janeiro.

Additional Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3-A young girl living in a coastal South American town has a blacker skin tone than any of her family members or playmates. A white rabbit, entranced by the girl's skin, "dark and glossy, just like a panther in the rain," implores her to reveal her beauty secrets. Nina Bonita, who doesn't really know why she's so dark, gives the rabbit three ridiculous possibilities, which he duplicates with disappointing results. Persistently, the rabbit asks for a fourth explanation, and the final one is provided by the girl's mother-the child is the same color as her black grandmother. The white rabbit, satisfied with a truthful answer, proceeds to marry a black rabbit and produce a plethora of children of various hues. With its unique setting and engaging characterizations, this gentle and entertaining exploration of mixed-race families is appealing. Soft, colored-pencil illustrations depict Nina Bonita and the rabbit in the larger context of a diverse village where people live comfortably despite superficial differences. This translation has retained the rhythmic cadences of the Spanish language, making it suitable for reading aloud.
Tana Elias, Meadowridge Branch Library, Madison, WI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Other Reviews:

"This enchanting story of diversity, in which a very white rabbit falls in love with a very dark girl and longs to discover the secret for being so dark and pretty, juxtaposes soft illustrations with simple text. It is perfect for reading alone or for group sharing." --- Publishers Weekly

"Soft, colored-pencil illustrations depict Nina Bonita and the rabbit in the larger context of a diverse village where people live comfortably despite superficial differences. This translation has retained the rhythmic cadences of the Spanish language, making it suitable for reading aloud." --- School Library Journal

"The softly-colored illustrations of Nina s seaside life give subtle nuance to a story that explains color most imaginatively and with great wisdom, a simple lesson easily learned about differences and acceptance." --- Curled Up Kids

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